State Cable: 771230 GT-State

[Editor’s note: The State Department FOIA release of 1981 withheld all names associated with the relatives of a two Peoples Temple members from this cable. Several are known to the editor, and they are denoted below in red type.]

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 01 GEORGE 03356 301429Z
[listing of agencies receiving informational copies on PDF]

R 301033Z DEC 77
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 5929
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE GEORGETOWN 3356
ARA/CAR FOR TUMMINIA

E. O. 11652: N/A
TAGS: CASC (OLIVER, BRUCE HOWARD AND OLIVER, WILLIAM SHELDON)
SUBJECT: W/W: BRUCE AND WILLIAM OLIVER

1. Embassy has just experienced another episode related to People’s Temple members in Guyana. [Howard and Beverly Oliver] accompanied by their US attorney [Roger Holmes] traveled to Guyana from [deleted location] on December 22 to see [their sons] Bruce and William Oliver who are residing at the People’s Temple agricultural community. [Howard and Beverly Oliver] contacted GOG Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) direct for assistance in arranging a meeting between [half line deleted].

2. Efforts by GOG to arrange meeting were unsuccessful. Charge and Consul met with [names of Olivers and/or attorney deleted] on December 23 to discuss matter and to offer whatever assistance we could. Charge also met with MFA officials to express our strong interest in arranging meeting. GOG officials maintained to Charge and [name deleted] that under Guyanese law they could not compel People’s Temple to force [half line deleted] (one Oliver boy is over 21 and the other turned 18 on Christmas Day). People’s Temple representatives also informed GOG that it would not permit [Olivers] to enter agricultural community which it can do

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
LIMITED OFFICIAL USE
PAGE 02 GEORGE 03356 301429Z

under Guyanese law pertaining to trespassing.

3. With situation at an impasse [Olivers] and their attorney purportedly departed Georgetown December 28, 1977. Prior to leaving Consul promised [Olivers] that he would attempt to have a personal, private meeting with the boys when he travels to Jonestown on January 10 as now scheduled.

4. People’s Temple representative informed Consul on December 27 that the reason the Oliver boys did not wish to see [their parents] at this time was because [their parents] were being manipulated by a group (unidentified) that spread lies about the People’s Temple and is out to destroy their church. Consul replied that the best way to dispel myths and falsehoods was to meet them head on and prove such allegation to be wrong. He stated that by avoiding direct contact with [their parents], the Oliver boys lent credence to one accusation that is being leveled against the hierarchy of People’s Temple of psychologically pressuring members to turn against their relatives.

5. During meeting with charge and Consul, [Olivers] showed letters that indicated that as late as August, 1977 boys wanted [their parents] to visit them at Jonestown. [Name deleted] stated [name deleted] had left on a two-week holiday to the agricultural community and never returned home. All and all it was a painful Christmas for them.

Blacken

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE

Originally posted on February 5th, 2020.

Skip to main content